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Who are you?

Along with reorganizing the fume collection in the new year, there seems to be something going through the air of the blogosphere, with bloggers asking who they are and how a perfume expresses it.

The Non-Blonde blogged about “Perfume that’s just not you”. She mentions often that a perfume is or isn’t her. I am intrigued by her costume metaphor – a perfume that isn’t her feels to her like costume dress-up, and not in a good way. (I doubt there are many women over the age of 25 whose goal is to dress up in a Holly Hobbie dress, as she says wearing one perfume makes her feel that she is doing.)

And then just this last week Olfactoria over at Olfactoria’s Travels asked the same question in a slightly different way: what is “you” when it comes to perfume – do you stick with what you like or do you purposefully branch out? And her post got tons of interesting answers. (I love the comments on perfume blogs at least as much as the content, much of the time.)

At the time of The Non-Blonde’s post, I had already found and fallen in love with Katie Puckrik’s video reviews and of course watched her videos about her own perfume collection. At one point (I think it’s in video 3) Katie seems to realize that according to her perfume collection, apparently, she thinks “she’s the Queen of Sheba”. I can think of a lot worse people to smell like. I bet the Queen of Sheba smelled fantastic. (And I bet she smelled a lot of the things Katie smells like.) Katie of course said it in that adorable self-deprecating way that she has – “Who do I think I am anyway?” that already belies any delusions of grandeur that may go with the perfumes. She likes what she likes, that’s all; and perhaps she likes to smell like the Queen of Sheba. If it says anything about her, it says that she likes cozy, warm, sensual scents (she uses those words a lot in her reviews), and what could possibly be wrong with that?

And it made me wonder: what does my perfume collection say about me?

I know I would use the word “delicious” a lot more than Katie, because I love gourmands and she doesn’t. I also have some significant families represented quite a bit in addition to the gourmands, most notably white florals, green perfumes, and a category I can only call “80s Blockbusters”. If I were doing one of those videos, and I very much hope I DON’T, the words I’d probably end up repeating a lot are “rich”, “decadent”, and yes, “expensive”.

My friend Emily, the one who interviewed me on perfume for her blog Ever So Scrumptious, loves perfumes like Madame Jolie and naughty rose perfumes and such, but when I recommended something (an Amouage, I think), Emily made a comment about being “unable to carry it off” or something similar. Now, I’m a good bit taller than the scrumptious person in question but I never think about something being too expensive, too much, for me to wear or for me to wear in almost any context. I can imagine something being too STRONG; I definitely try not to wear Amouages at work when there will be any meetings, for instance. But I am expensive. My attention is worth a lot. I don’t mind wearing perfumes that reflect that.

I also like the words “explosive”, “glorious”, and “elegant”. These are words of my feelings, not of describing the perfume. You might think “well duh, yeah”, but there are a lot of obvious words I could use that I don’t. I don’t use words like “distinctive” – I don’t give a damn about whether or not I stand out from what everyone else is wearing, mostly because I know that I already DO. I don’t care that much if it’s “classic”, either, though lots of my perfumes are, and even vintage. “Authentic” doesn’t interest me much – I’d like to smell real oakmoss versus fake, but it’s not a matter of religious principle to me that IFRA has banned it (of course, it’s not one of my favorite notes either, so I can sympathize with those for whom it is.) I do care that my perfume doesn’t smell cheap, that it is a beautiful composition beautifully executed – yes, I do like perfumes because they’re beautiful, and have no interest in ugly scents except as objects of intellectual interest. I care that I enjoy wearing it; if it doesn’t make me feel fantastic to have it on, I probably won’t wear it often – in fact I probably won’t even buy it. I do care that I can smell it. If it’s gone in five minutes I get cranky.

But aside from those things the sky’s the limit. I love many different categories (and still growing), and my favorites are lush, often popular stinkbombs that wouldn’t be surprising to find on a sixty year old woman, about twenty years ago (i.e., I enjoy smelling like what my grandmother used to smell like). It’s possible that my perfume collection says that I think that I am an aging TV star, circa 1986. You know what? I am okay with that.

Recent new favorites: vintage Chanel No. 19, Un Petit Rien by Miller Harris, Black Jade by Lubin, Antonio Banderas’ Diavolo. Old favorites: No. 23 by Ava Luxe, Amouage Opus I, Amouage Ubar (UBARRRRRR!), Elizabeth Taylor’s White Diamonds, Bois du Chocolat by DSH, Donna Karan Gold, Montale Vanilla Extasy, vintage Diorissimo, Back to Black by Kilian.

Actually, maybe I’m a sugar-coated tooth fairy, with all that sweet.

So what do you think? Does that say “who” I am? Does your perfume collection? And if it does – who are you?

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